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The senseless killings going on the South Eastern geopolitical zone of the country has assumed a new feverish proportion. The killings which go with no fathomable pattern has left the people of the zone in fear for their lives and perplexity for what it is to come. Commentators have resorted to blame games, and Government and leadership are almost non-existent. Non-State actors have now taken over the streets as businesses and economy, a drastic journey down the slope. Something has to be done, this killings cannot continue.
The notorious Unknown Gunmen group had shortly before Christmas returned from their presumed break and have activated their killing spree. The resurgence of the activities of the ominous killing gang in the South-East has now become worrisome. This was not what the South East and Ndigbo were generally known for. Sanctity of human lives used to be a big deal in Ala Igbo. The South-East has terrible derailed and something drastic must be done to save Igbo land.
The killings in Anambra and Imo States over the last few weeks have taken the entire country by surprise. When did the South-East region become this barbaric? The other day, for instance, a group of gunmen suspected to be cultists invaded a funeral ceremony at Ebenebe in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra. They went on to kill not just over 20 mourners, they also desecrated the corpse inside a coffin by shooting at it several times. This is insane. This is not what Igbos are known for! It has to stop! There must be a way out.
Today, it has become extremely dangerous to drive around with police escorts in several parts of the South-East. The danger zones in the region include Orlu, Orsu, Oru-East local governments in Imo State; Ihiala axis of Anambra State such as Isekke, Lilu, Orsumoghu, Azia, and Mbosi; Aguata and Orumba Local Government Areas of Anambra with Oko, Ekwulobia and Isuofia as major flashpoints. Most of the villages in these areas have now been deserted and economic activities are tanking. The political, religious and traditional rulers have chosen to remain aloof either out of fear or lack of srong courage and conviction.
The origin of the malaise traces its roots to poverty and unemployment. These two anomalies have helped to trigger the security crisis over the last two years. According to NBS figures, the current rate of unemployment in Nigeria is 33.3 percent. Alarming right? What this means is that a great number of youths are idle and have become willing tools for crime. They take all sorts of hard drugs which make them lose value for human life and taking them have become a recreational activity. Just a few months ago, the South-East was designated as a Heaven for drugs with a hard drug called ‘Mkpuru Mmiri’ in local parlance becoming the new snacks. It is obvious that drugs and crime go together. Youths who take them can go to any length to commit evil. Its been a long journey down the slope.
Proliferation of small arms in the region has also helped to aggreviate the crisis. Shortly after the Endsars protests, some so-called Unknown Gunmen went after security agents, killing them and dispossessing them of their weapons. Security agents were killed in such places as Nkpologwu, Omogho, Neni, Awkuzu all in Anambra State. Imo and Enugu States also got their fair share in the killings too. In different other parts of the South-East, police stations and vehicles were destroyed and scores of policemen killed. The truth is that these actions significantly weakened the capacity of the Nigeria Police Force as an institution to stand a chance of confronting them. Now, criminals are having a field day and operating without much hindrance.
It is rather painful that today, the South-East has become a cemetery of some sort as people become more careful of their movements. Every criminal in the South-East now comes out every Monday to enforce sit-at-homes and drive home the message of securing Nnamdi Kanu’s release from the custody of the Federal Government. Driving a good car is now a crime in the region. If you are seen to be wealthy in any way, you are a target. The region is not too far from what happened in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Syria where gangsters rule and the truth is that the region would get there if urgent steps are not taken NOW!
We can’t continue this way. It is time for all the stakeholders in Ala Igbo to hold very sincere meetings and decide on how to contain the spate of insecurity in the region. The spineless sleeping Governors in the region must sit up at this point. This is not the time for politics, if these killings continue unabated, the next elections in the region might not even hold. We seem to have lost our humanity. Its very obvious that our youths are no longer abreast of our cultural and ethical values. Some of them do dirty jobs for politicians for peanuts without remorse. It is such a painful situation. This calls for a reorientation of the youths.
Finally, it is important to warn youths who are behind this criminality to desist from it. One day, nemesis will catch up with them. They should look out for ways to positively engage themselves without resorting the criminality. Every hand must be on deck right now. The Igbo man is known for commerce and entrepreneurship, and not gory bad examples. The killings MUST stop!!!
THE EASTERN UPDATES